Just after leaving William Creek the Oonadatta Track was still closed. No problem since we wanted to head to Coober Pedy anyway. The track was mostly pretty good, though there were a few muddy spots, and many detours around new lakes. For the most part the land is absolutely flat, and, except for the temporary carpet of bright green growth, is featurless.
Coming into Coober Pedy the flatness is interupted by artificial mini-mountain ranges. Welcome to the world opal mining capital. Most of the opal fields we past have offices that are buit into low hills - a good intro to the town proper. A large percentage of the town's houses / stores / restaurants / hotels / etc. are buit underground! It's actually a pretty small town and there's not much here besides inumerable souvenir stores selling opal studded monstrosities. Drove around, filled up the gas tank, picked up some groceries for lunch, and quickly checked my email (yep, there was an internet cafe). All in all it's not an appealing place and I was happy to be on my way.
One bitter-sweet thing that Coober Pedy marked was the return to the paved road. It was very nice to be able to travel relatively quietly and to be able to relax a bit. However, the adventure seems to be over, and the dirt track just fit so much better in the scenery. The 160 kilometers to Marla passed quickly and in just a couple hours we were checking into the travellers facility - pretty much all there is to Marla. After the last two nights of camping, decided to splurge and got a proper room - hot water shower and everything! Did a load of laundry, drank a bottle of wine from my "cellar", and had a very average dinner.